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England’s worst bus operator named by travel watchdog

Simon Calder’s Travel

England’s worst bus operator has been revealed by a transport watchdog.

The Transport Focus research showed that passengers travelling in urban metropolitan areas across England are less satisfied (78%) on average compared with those making journeys elsewhere.

Arriva in West Yorkshire has been ranked England’s worst bus operator.

Just 66% of passengers were satisfied with their last journey, a survey by watchdog Transport Focus covering 55 operators indicated.

Yorkshire towns and cities served by Arriva buses include Leeds and Wakefield.

Arriva, based in Sunderland, is one of the UK’s largest train and bus operators.

It is a subsidiary of Germany’s state-owned transport giant Deutsche Bahn but a takeover by US-based infrastructure investor I Squared Capital understood to be worth around 1.6 billion euro (£1.4 billion) was agreed in October last year.

The watchdog said: “This is not surprising as urban metropolitan services are the most likely to be affected by crowding, and are most likely to encounter traffic and roadworks, making services run late.

“Crowding makes people less satisfied, even when they can get a seat.

“Passengers who sat next to someone they didn’t know are significantly less satisfied than those who didn’t.”


The top-ranked operator was Stagecoach in Portsmouth, which had a passenger satisfaction score of 91%.

Transport Focus found that overall, 80% of bus passengers in England were satisfied with their last journey, with 8% dissatisfied.

It said bus drivers can “make or break a journey”, with passengers noting if they wait until someone is seated before moving off, and how careful they drive.

The research, which was conducted for the first time, gathered feedback on more than 35,000 journeys in England.

Transport Focus director David Sidebottom said: “It is good to see many passengers are satisfied with their journey.

“Eighty per cent overall satisfaction is a good start.

“However, wide variation in scores show that some passengers are being let down.

“As congestion continues to bite, Government, bus operators and local authorities must work together so that passengers see the improvements in reliability, journey times and better value for money fares promised in the national bus strategy.

“We’ll be using the results from this survey as a benchmark for local transport authorities and bus…

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